The South West of Britain has many striking geological features – The rivers Severn and Avon, the Avon Gorge not least among them. As with many of such wonders there are myths aplenty surrounding their creation (nothing as mundane as ice – ages, glacial flow and tectonic movement). Giants were a common creature often blamed of tasked with the creation of these natural phenomena, and if the amount of myths about them are anything to go by the giants were plentiful, drunken and of a mind to fighting.
Here is the tale of Goram and Ghyston-Vincent – two brother giants who have left their legacy in the culture of Bristol, if not, in fact the scenery.
Goram and Ghyston (Vincent)
The most widespread version of this myth claims the Giant brothers Goram and Ghyston (later known as Vincent) were both enamoured of the lady Avona (who bears the name of the local river – the Avon – which is a story in itself). Avona offered herself to whichever one could drain the lake which once existed between Bradford-on-Avon (neighbouring county of Wiltshire), and Bristol.
Taking up the challenge Goram decided to dig a channel through the limestone hills via Henbury, and Vincent opted for a route just south of Clifton.
Goram, (in one version) finding the work hard and hot downed prediguos quantities of ale (did he take it with him? Do Giants have public houses or make their own?) and fell asleep in his favourite stone chair.
Ghyston-Vincent – the better planner – paced himself and completed his channel – leaving is with the narrow gorge at Hazel Brook, and the Avon Gorge, through which the River Avon now flows. On completion the waters roared into the Severn, leaving only a trickle for the Hazel Brook.
Upon waking the Giant Goram, was upset at losing the affections of the Lady Avona, and stamped his foot in a pit – leaving the Giant’s Footprint in the woodland above the Henbury Gorge, in what is now the Blaise Estate. He was so upset he threw himself into the Severn Estuary, leaving behind Steep Holm island (his head) and Flat Holm island (his shoulder).
Goram’s lake, near Henbury, was supposedly created when Goram stamped his giant foot, and the smaller lake is Goram’s Soapdish. Goram’s Chair is comprised of two flat topped walls of solid rock sticking out from the cliff-face – they look a lot like the arms of a comfy chair.
It’s not surprising he lost – it sounds like he’d been busy creating these other features as well as wooing the ladies.
Ghyston-Vincent wed Avona and named the gorge after her.
In some versions Goram was lazy and stopped for drinkies…
Other versions of the tale
A second version of the legend says the brothers were working together and Goram fell asleep and was felled by an accident blow from Ghyston-Vincent’s pickaxe. A variation of this says the giants were sharing a pickaxe for the work, and Goram was slain when he was resting when his brother threw him the axe. Giants throwing tools and rocks to or at one another are common British myths to explain monoliths.
Ghyston-Vincent then completed the work alone, going on to complete other stone-works such as the Stanton Drew Stone Circles in remorse and later returned to his cave and died from grief and exhaustion.
Yet another version states only Goram built the Gorge and there is no mention of Vincent. Goram, having completed the work fell over an iron-age barrow and plunged into the Severn Estuary.
A similar legend tells of a giant named Gorm threw rocks at his rival, and one particularly large one fell short, thus becoming Druid Stoke.
Goram was buried beneath the barrow tumulus at Charnborough Hill – although there is not much left of the barrow now.
Transmission of the legend
The oldest version known is found in Britannia (1586) by William Camden, later reworked by Thomas Chatterton writing as Rowley the monk. Another version appears in Robert Atkyns History of Gloucestershire) in 1712.
The name Vincent may reflect that at the narrowest point of the Avon Gorge there was an ancient hermitage and chapel dedicated to St Vincent. In another version of the story Vincent is known as Ghyston, which is the name of the whole cliff-face of the Avon Gorge from at least the mid-fifteenth century. Vincent’s cave is also known as Ghyston Cave, or the Giant’s Hole.
The name Goram may have come from Iseult’s father, the King of Ireland, in the early romance of Tristran and Iseult. ‘Gorm’ is Irish for blue or ‘dark-skinned.
‘Vincent’ as a first name arrived in about the 13th Century, and became popular as a result of St Vincent the Deacon, however it is unclear whether the Clifton hermit was called Vincent and became associated with the saint, or that St Vincent became known in Bristol due to trading links with Portugal and Spain (St Vincent is the patron saint of Lisbon and vintners).
Legacy of the Legend
Blaise Castle and Estate use the legend of Goram widely, including hosting a funfair bearing Goram’s name. There is a Giant Goram pub in the area, a smokehouse restaurant called the Goram and Vincent, and even an Enterprise level E-commerce company bearing the name.
There is also a website and collection of kids’ books about Goram and Vincent/Ghyston.
There are walking tours and other tourist attractions based on the myth.
There is a carved Giant’s head at Ashton Gate, and in the Middle Ages a turfwork portrayed Ghyston’s head. Ghyston’s Cliff is in Avon Gorge.
A bit about the area
The Avon Gorge is a mile and half long and runs through a limestone ridge about 1.5 miles west of the centre of Bristol. It’s been used in the defence of the city. It is spanned by the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The gorge spanned 700 feet wide and 300 feet deep.
The gorge is mainly limestone and sandstone – it is believed to have been caused by glaciation during the Anglian Ice Age, and the limestone carries fossils from the Carboniferous Age 350m years ago. The Iron Age Dobunni tribe are believed to have dwelled in the area and there are the remains of three Iron-Age hill forts. (A variation of the myth held that the Giant Ghyst built the forts).
There are over twenty rare plant species that grow in the gorge and two unique species of trees, the rare peregrine falcons have returned to nest there since the 1990s. Much of it is a Site of Scientific Special Interest.
Check out the post from Anthony Adolph – broadcaster who gives a wonderful account of the stories. https://anthonyadolph.co.uk/somerset-giants/
Meet author Nathalie M.L. Römer
Hello, everyone, my name is Nathalie and I’m a expat Brit who lives and works In Sweden (the country not the American city). I originate from the Netherlands originally where I was born, and I grew up in Amsterdam. (Fun fact, walking to school involved walking past the daytime versions of the “Red Light District” windows). My journey to authordom began originally with my ferocious bookworm addiction of devouring as many books as I could as I was growing up. My advice immediately is for kids to be as interested in reading books as early as possible.
I would typically read at least TEN books a day, and I’m not talking children’s books here though I’d read them too, but books by such authors as Isaac Asimov (still my favourite author and I’m excited for the upcoming Foundation movie), Tolkien, Georges Simenon and Jules Verne (I’d read the adult edition rather than the children’s edition of his books). My imagination was ignited by reading about so many different worlds and places, though circumstance caused me to only begin writing in 2014 (pesky bad marriage, annoying ex-husband getting in the way of creativity and all that sort of stuff). But when I began writing I realised that I had never forgotten any of the many stories I’d been dreaming up in my mind. One such story is the story in my series of The Wolf Riders of Keldarra, though the original premise did change somewhat as time went by…
I glance over at the suggested questions Silver Dagger Book Tours sent me and the first one is to tell something unique or quirky. I’ve often enough in my life been told I’m an empathic person who cares about others. I guess that’s not a unique thing but when I think back at what I’ve done throughout my life my mind settles on one event that has made me who I am.
The event is something that could have ended up tragic if I hadn’t acted as fast as I did. I knew I cared about others when I made an effort to rescue a toddler who got washed out to sea. I rushed to the child, got her from the water, and was already administering CPR and all necessary actions to save her. Her parents realised then what was going on. I still remember the mother’s words to this day, “Never forget what you did here today. You were a hero. You showed you cared for a child you never met before.” You need not do something massive to stand out from the crowd to “shine.” You can do a simple thing to show everyone you care about others. Though in Book 2 of my series, Stolen Truth, I decided to reverse the event somewhat, making the “rescue” spiritual rather than physical, there a scene in the book (available for pre-order on Amazon) that is a direct reflection of what had happened to me.
Well, even someone supposedly empathic can have her pet peeves. The biggest pet peeve I have is when I see people not wanting to get along with one another. I see us all as connected as we have one world to live on (so far and for the foreseeable future) and therefore we should all act in a way like we’re the hero. The best example of an explanation for this sort of behaviour comes from Melissa Benoist (never met her but she’s definitely on my bucket list of a “hero” I’d like to meet one day), who has said – and I’m not quoting verbatim: “We all are the heroes of the world. Girls come to me telling me that Supergirl has made them realise they matter no matter who they are.”
I kind of have the same approach with Marrida in The Wolf Riders of Keldarra (and had the approach before I knew of what Melissa Benoist said; she said it in 2019). Marrida in my story goes from a naive girl who knows very little about her world to someone who becomes an inspiration to others, i.e. a hero, and tells the people she meets they matter. A real hero, therefore, is ANY person who tells others they matter no matter who they are or where they’re from. So that means you can be a hero by simply being kind and loving to others, which then makes you my hero.
The drive to be an author comes from something a teacher once told me: “You’ll either be an artist or an author.” Before I became an author I did freelance work creating advert graphics (I guess that’s the artist part of the teacher’s statement fulfilled). As I decided in 2014 to embrace the other part of the statement that’s when I became an author. But whatever the creativity is, you become creative the moment you think about something you want to create, whether it is art, stories, music, movies or YouTube videos, theatre acting, costume design, or any other creativity. The ancient Homo Sapiens with their cave paintings teach us that by nature humans are creative. We invented writing. We invented mathematics. We invented engineering to create tools and later machines. It’s the first time you think: “What if I create…” that’s when you are a creative person. For me the “What if I create…” was when I was just four years old, created a drawing of a girl with a skirt (I still own the drawing) and then went into a lengthy tangent explaining to the girl beside me how drawing her art with just four fingers, opposed to me doing it with five, was likely the moment my storytelling skill was born. I may have begun writing my first novel over decades after that day as a toddler but I began being a creator of stories on that day in late 1973.
This leads into what I watch for added inspiration. I love movies that have a larger than life setting, which I commonly have in my books too, especially fantasy or science-fiction. When I write I have the movies of Lord of the Rings in my mind, where both the books and the movies offer the ultimate “hero’s journey.” Which coincidentally, right now, is my all-time favourite movies. But that may get eclipsed if either the movie Foundation, the reimagined Dune or any other movie comes along. I watch science fiction movies as they present to me the chance to see an imagined future. I watch fantasy movies for escapism. Personally, I’d like to see The Wolf Riders of Keldarra on the television screen though.
And finally, I’ll end this essay that gives you an insight in who I am with telling you that my “muse” is the plush doll of a WOLF that sits on my desk. Wolves are my spirit animal, and I have a high belief in such things as a Pagan. I’m someone who feels connected to nature, which is why almost all my stories always will feature animals in one fashion or another, especially wolves…
I support the Wolf Conservation Centre (https://nywolf.org/) as my chosen charity because of my love of wolves. Maybe you can show them your support too.
Nathalie is a published author, based in Sweden, and born and bred in the Netherlands, with roots squarely planted culturally in Britain and Curaçao. She primarily writes epic fantasy, futuristic science fiction, mysteries, romance with a twist, and is now venturing into fairytale retellings, dystopian stories and much more (just keep visiting to see where stories take you and the author alike). And Nathalie describes her style of writing as unapologetically wordy, because she has discovered that the best part of writing is weaving a world that’s interesting to explore, to discover its back story, to meet its people, and find out what makes them tick. Nathalie weaves each world with her own experiences into the stories, and will touch on various causes and situations that speak to her…
What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?
Of course, I don’t do anything simple. I generally come up with ideas all the time. Most of the time they don’t belong to a story in particular, so those ideas get written down and thrown into a slush pile. When I’m stuck for an idea, I just start plucking out of that pot until something sticks and I write it into the scene.
The ideas that I have for a particular series also goes into a folder. Once I’m finished with whatever I’m writing currently, I pick what folder is the biggest and start working on that story.
First, it’s all about putting the ideas into a coherent order – and this is really hard especially since I like to throw timelines all over the place.
Then I write an outline and revise it several times. If I write from multiple character’s perspectives, then each character gets their own timeline, and I somehow merge them all together to form a book outline.
Then the draft. This is nothing to sneeze at. Drafts are horrible writing but for some authors their natural talent makes it look like a polished piece. I am not one of those writers. My drafts are full of notes, comments, repetition, emphasis, etc. because I’m telling myself the story.
I do countless re-writes until I’m happy with it and then the editor’s round starts.
So the process is long and it’s nothing short of hard work but if I skip any step, I end up writing myself into a corner. Which all writer’s know, is not fun to navigate back out of.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Rules! Too many writers say learn the rules but then can’t determine what the rules are.
Of course, there are grammar rules, spelling and punctuation. These are a given. But writing rules? Are they suppose to be on content? Use of language? Expression? I never found out.
Instead, I ignored all the generalized advice and rule talk and put my head into a book to figure out what exactly does a novel consist of. Thousands of articles will tell you to skip that step, but I needed to learn the hard way so I knew it for myself. Learning something for myself made me in control of those
What is your writing Kryptonite?
No outline! I’m not someone who can write a book from cover to cover. I have to have a plan. Too often, I write the plan several times before I start constructing scenes. Then I draft the book several times over before I start the re-write. It sounds like a lot of work but it’s a process that allows me to dive deeper, search harder, explore more.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I haven’t a clue what people want to read and this is really a no-no in the publishing world. I have certain stories that I must get out of my head and onto paper. If people want to read them, then great! But if not, that’s fine too, but I must write them. Every time I watch a movie or read a book, my mind wanders and I find myself seeing a deeper picture than the story was meant to go. That’s where I find my content – the layers that are so deep and shine the light on what’s hidden in the darkness.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Never give up.
Everyone thinks they have the answer – but it’s only relevant to their lives, not yours.
The yellow brick path has been tracked too many times – don’t follow the dirt path either – create your own.
There is no such thing as the wrong answer when you are asking about life.
Creativity is life.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Actually, I find writing males so much easier. It’s women I find hard. I grew up with so many boys and never any girls. They’re less complicated and talk at face value. Women don’t. They hide things and have a level of expectation thinking it’s written on their face. I can’t deal with that! So I jump into a man and follow him. I’m more comfortable doing that.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
How long is a piece of string? No idea. Some very quick, others years. It’s a matter of what the story requires, needs from me, etc. I let the work dictate itself. If I try and put limitations on it, then everything goes out the window.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes and reader’s block too! Neither is fun. But it’s all about the mindset. If you are not creating – don’t blame the craft. Something is going on in your life that is impacting the creative muscle. Health? Stress? Toxic person in your life that you constantly thinking things will get better? It does once they’re out of your life! And you’re creating again.
By day, wizards rule the world. At night, warlocks seek to destroy it. Now, one boy will challenge them both.
When Autumn Blackwood shows up at Windhaven Academy for the Witching Stick Orientation, she hopes to find out what dormant powers she could possibly possess to have been accepted to the elite supernatural school. Instead, the academy is in chaos as everyone frantically hunts for two missing girls.
But as school begins with Autumn no closer to figuring out her powers, strange occurrences start to follow her everywhere. Even at home, Blackwood Manor keeps many secrets, and Autumn can’t escape its haunting past.
New friends urge her to learn more about her family’s history in order to unlock her powers and make sense of what’s happening at Blackwood Manor, but Autumn’s not so sure. Once an accident brings Autumn face-to-face with death, however, she realizes her gifts are tied to a legacy that can either save or doom them all…
Turns out being the town’s only necromancer could pose some problems when the dead won’t stay dead.
Being haunted by ghosts isn’t unusual for Autumn, but this time it’s someone she didn’t think was dead.
Madam Giry se ve envuelta en la tragedia desarrollándose en la Casa de la Ópera; misterio y asesinato acechan los corredores y, se dice, que un fantasma embruja el lugar. Giry sabe la verdad, pues recuerda al joven enjaulado que conoció tantos años atrás. Esta es su historia, la historia de ambos.
Cuando misterios y asesinatos comienzan a ocurrir en la Casa de la Ópera, una mujer sabe quién está detrás de todo, y lo que realmente hay detrás de la máscara. Secretos, mentiras y tragedia cantan una poderosa canción en esta reimaginación de la mítica historia.
Una corta y trágica historia basada en los personajes del Fantasma de La Ópera.
Locura, obsesión y el legado del pasado se entrelazan en un maleficio en esta historia breve y trágica, basada en El fantasma de la ópera.
Luego de doce años tumultuosos de los hechos dramáticos en la Casa de la Ópera en París, el fantasma de la ópera, la criatura legendaria que esclavizaba al personal de la Casa de la Ópera, secuestró a la amada de Raoul y asesinó a su hermano, aún atormenta al Comte de Chagny. En la imaginación perturbada de Raoul, los fantasmas del pasado están por todas partes; y una música extraña y poderosa todavía suena en sus sueños.
Wer möchte die alten Legenden aus einer Welt hören, in der die Ausübung von Magie vom Orden der Hexenjäger verboten wurde? Hier findet man fünf Geschichten aus einer Zeit der Magier und der Monster.
Der Mond auf dem Wasser: Eine Geschichte der Liebe zwischen einer Göttin und einem Krieger und des schrecklichen Fluches, den diese Liebe nach sich zog.
Die Legende von Treyna: Wenn eine sterbliche Frau von zwei rivalisierenden Göttern umworben wird, werden Himmel und Erde von der Magie bewegt.
Sturmkind: Ein einsamer Magier findet Freundschaft und Liebe in einem Wesen, dass während eines schrecklichen Sturms erscheint. Doch die Magie fordert immer ihren Preis.
Die blaue Phiole: Hier lernen wir wie wichtig es ist, Anweisungen genau zu befolgen!
Die Legende von Oeliana: Die Geschichte einer Nymphe und einer Kröte, Eifersucht, Magie und einer Lektion, dass Schulden beglichen werden müssen.